The call for ideas on the Whanganui port revitalisation was well answered on Tuesday night when more than 120 people attended a meeting at the War Memorial Centre.
Suggestions ranged from a training and education centre for marine engineering to an eatery providing paleo eggs benedict.

Consultants Bill McDonald, of Vapour Ltd, and Phil Wardale, of Marine Industry Consulting, were joined by urban landscape designer Henry Crothers, of LandLAB, to present an overview of the development plan.

Mr Wardale said the meeting was intended as a starting point to form reference groups to become involved with the master planning process for the port development.

He stressed that the plan which the Whanganui District Council has commisioned is still a proposal at this stage and the meetings will help determine the final plan.

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The plan presentation has areas of the port divided into zones with suggested use for each one.

Zone 1 at Tod St has been designated for marine industry, zone 2 Wharf St reserved for recreation and community users, zone 3 Morrison St is proposed as an industrial area, zone 4 Heads Rd is tagged for industrial and storage use and zone 5 Taupo Quay as commercial.

The consultants were asked about plans for a ferry service from the port to Motueka proposed by Neville Johnson.

Mr Wardale said he had met with Mr Johnson to talk about the proposed service and those discussions would be ongoing.

"Facilities at the Motueka port will have to be looked at as well," he said.

Representatives from business and recreational users had a number of concerns about dredging and water depth.

"The council has purchased the dredging barge which arrived last week," said Mr Wardale.

"Since the No1 wharf has been upgraded, Q-West has successfully launched one of the Kaikoura whale watch boats after it was repaired."

Mr Wardale said cargo ship Anatoki regularly visits the port without diffculty.

There were questions from waka ama and fishing club members about current difficulties with launching boats and possibilities of conflicts that may arise around recreational and commercial use of the port.

There was an objection to a suggestion by Mr Wardale that the disused section of railway track at the port could be sealed over.

"I think we should keep rail access options open," said one man.
"Other developed countries are going back to rail because they have found it to be more cost-effective."

A suggestion was made by Gail Imhoff that some consultation meetings should be taken to marae for better iwi consultation.

"Ken Mair may be a member of the port group but he is one person."

Des Warahi agreed and said that iwi were stakeholders in the development process.

"We don't always get the feedback from Ken or Uncle John [Maihi] if we don't see them," he said.

People left their contact details for future group planning meetings
Anyone not able to attend meetings can submit their feeback and suggestions at whatdoyouthink.org.nz.